Buying crafting materials can be pricey, but you don’t need to bust your budget to make lots of cool things with your kids. In fact, we’ve rounded up more than 35 recycled materials projects for kids using items you already have in your home. You’ll find loads of fun ways to reuse toilet paper rolls, plastic bottles, bottle caps, cardboard boxes, and so much more.
Recycled Materials Ideas
Recycled Materials Projects
Not only are these recycled art projects budget-friendly, but they teach kids an important lesson about reusing and recycling whenever possible. Repurposing things like plastics is a great way to keep items out of our landfills. So, whether you’re looking for some recycled crafts for Earth Day or just want to do some crafting that’s cheap, you’re going to love the list of crafts you see below.
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Recycled Projects from Natural Beach Living
Let’s kick things off with some of our favorite recycled materials projects right here at Natural Beach Living! We love focusing on projects that improve the environment in some way, like feeding birds, making homes for bees, and planting seeds or plants in upcycled pots.
You can make a bird feeder for your feathered friends in about 10 minutes if you have an empty bottle, some wooden or plastic spoons, and birdseed. Or try out this easy recycled bird feeder made with an egg carton.
Gather up your old terra cotta pots to give them new life. This marbling technique creates gorgeous colors and patterns every time, and each pot looks unique.
Bees are so important for the environment, but their populations are dwindling. Build a mason bee habitat using a recycled tin can and bamboo shoots. Don’t worry; these bees pollinate, but they don’t sting.
Encourage a love of plants and gardening with this fun seed bomb activity for kids. You’ll make your seed bombs with recycled paper and seeds of your choice, which makes them super easy for planting.
DIY splash balls are perfect for playing in the water on a hot summer day! They’re inexpensive, easy to make, and you can use cut up sponges.
These eco-friendly Crafts Using Recycled Materialswill excite all of your children.
Fun Recycled Materials Projects for Kids
And here are even more fun recycled materials projects that your kids are going to love.
Paper Roll Frogs from thecrafttrain.com: Learn how to make paper roll frogs using the squash and cut technique! This frog craft is perfect for spring or summer or for learning about the frog life cycle.
Floating Pirate Ship from everydaybest.com: Turn an ordinary milk carton into an imaginative pirate ship. It even floats! Kids will love setting sail in their pool or bathtub.
Newspaper Polar Bear from iheartcraftythings.com: Perfect as a winter craft or a unit on arctic animals, this polar bear craft is a nifty way to reuse the newspaper. With simple shapes and easy instructions, it’s an easy project for preschoolers.
Fun Kaleidoscope Craft from darcyandbrian.com: Remember playing with kaleidoscopes when you were a kid? Now you can make them with your own children. You’ll need a paper towel tube, aluminum foil, and beads to make this colorful craft.
Egg Carton Sugar Glider from thecrafttrain.com: Egg cartons are a fantastic crafting material. Use an egg carton to make this adorable sugar glider with the kids. You should also check out some videos on these little animals if you’re not familiar with them. They’re super cute and incredibly fascinating.
Cardboard City from boxofideas.uk: Make toy houses, dollhouses, or an entire city of homes, buildings, and more using boxes, milk cartons, and cardboard tubes. While this requires a bit of work initially, kids will play with these for hours, and they’ll last quite a while, too.
Recycled Paper Seed Cards from firefliesandmudpies.com: Create boutique-worth recycled paper seed cards with the kids to teach them the importance of using recycled materials and planting to encourage growth and renewal on the earth.
Pouch Cap Threading Activity from normallifemom.com: If you have a baby or toddler, odds are you go through lots of baby food pouches or fruit pouches. Those plastic caps that twist off the top are ideal for crafting. Turn them into a colorful bracelet or necklace for the kiddo or a garland to decorate the playroom.
Egg Carton Helicopters from thecrafttrain.com: If you’re having trouble finding crafts for your boys to enjoy, these egg carton helicopters are sure to get them excited. Part of the fun is grabbing them and flying them through your house once they’re completed.
Recycled Water Bottle Suncatchers from ourfamilycode.com: Save plastic water bottles to reuse them in crafts like these curly water bottle suncatchers. They’ll look gorgeous, spinning in the wind.
Colorful Newspaper Owls from iheartcraftythings.com: If you have some old newspapers lying around the house, this colorful owl craft is sure to brighten your day. We love how you can still see the print through the watercolors.
Egg Carton Jellyfish Puppets from theartkitblog.com: What a cute way to reuse egg cartons and yarn scraps! Hang them up in a window or in the corner of the room to add lots of colors. This is a fun craft for an ocean animal unit.
Toilet Roll Stamp Flowers from taminglittlemonsters.com: Painting and stamping with new materials are always exciting. Cut the ends of toilet rolls to make flower petal shapes, and then dip them in the paint to stamp. Use this technique to make cards for your family or pretty wrapping paper.
DIY Alphabet Match from activelittles.com: This simple activity is a great way to reuse a box and some popsicle sticks. Of course, you can use craft sticks, too, if you don’t want to eat lots of sugary popsicles. It’s a fun way for tots and preschoolers to reinforce letter recognition.
Paperback Book Hedgehog from pinkstripeysocks.com: Do you have an old paperback book that’s missing a few pages? Recycle it to make an adorable hedgehog! If you enjoy origami, you’ll love this craft, too, as it involves a bit of folding.
Recycled Bee Craft from iheartcraftythings.com: When spring begins, the bees start buzzing. Use some toilet rolls and newspaper to make some bee-utiful bees of your own.
Egg Carton Mushroom Craft from artsycraftsymom.com: Repurpose your egg cartons by turning them into cute mushrooms. The mushrooms would look fabulous in a fairy garden!
Easy Recycled Crafts
Here are some more ways you can use these recycled materials to create and learn.
Mini Plant Pots from projectswithkids.com: Play-doh dries out eventually, but you don’t have to toss the containers out with the dough. Instead, upcycle them to make mini plant pots for herbs, flowers, or succulents. How lovely.
Egg Carton Spring Bugs from funwithmama.com: Use egg carton pieces to make cute spring bugs with your little love bugs. Try ladybugs, butterflies, bees, or your own made-up insects.
Twig-Wrapped Flower Pots from growingfamily.co.uk: Use items from nature to make old things look entirely different. These twig-wrapped flower pots look so rustic and lovely.
Recycled Newspaper Earth Day Garland from kitchencounterchronicle.com: An excellent craft for Earth Day, this garland is made from newspaper and thread. The hearts and circles are painted blue and green to look like the earth. But you don’t have to wait around for Earth Day to make it. Anytime is a great opportunity for teaching kids to care for the planet.
Phonics Boards from happytoddlerplaytime.com: This phonics activity is another fun way to use twist-off caps from food pouches. What a smart way to work on word building!
Water Cycle in a Bottle from funwithmama.com: Learn about the water cycle up close. Recycle a glass bottle to do this fun weather experiment with your preschooler.
Projects Made from Recycled Materials
Newspaper Hat for Kids from redtedart.com: How pretty is this newspaper hat? This goes far beyond the typical triangle or cone-shaped hat that you typically make from paper. It would make a perfect hat for a tea party!
Rainstick Musical Sensory Bottle from rhythmsofplay.com: Shake things up (literally) with a musical sensory bottle for the kids. Recycle an old plastic bottle, add sticks and rice, and shake it all around as you play some fun music.
Upcycled Necklace from Plastic Lids from projectswithkids.com: Save plastic lids from milk jugs, orange juice jugs, etc., as they make colorful and fun pendants for necklaces. Paint them, color them in with markers, add sequins or stickers—the possibilities are endless!
Recycled K-Cup Tiger from artsymomma.com: Coffee lovers, don’t toss those k-cups into the trash. Empty the coffee grounds and clean those cups to use in sweet little crafts like this cute k-cup tiger.
Junk Model Astronaut Helmet from rainydaymum.co.uk: This is a wonderfully fun project that you only need a few materials to make—a cardboard box, some aluminum foil, and colored paper, as well as some glue and scissors. It’s so easy, and your kiddo will get hours of play pretending to be an astronaut.
Egg Carton Flowers from artsycraftsymom.com: Combine egg carton pieces with cupcake liners, buttons, and paper straws to make gorgeous flowers for spring or Mother’s Day.
Bottle Top Toddler Toy from teach-me-mommy.com: Practice color matching with this inexpensive bottle top toddler toy made with velcro dots and bottle tops.
Cardboard Doll House from redtedart.com: Big boxes have so much possibility, don’t they? Turn one into a customized dollhouse for the little ones to play with. Decorate each room with paint or pretty paper.
Toilet Paper Roll Butterfly from thebestideasforkids.com: Use toilet rolls and old buttons to make these beautiful, brightly colored butterflies for spring or summer.
Star Wars Toilet Paper Roll Figures from rockyourhomeschool.net: Raise your hand if you’re a Star Wars fan! Create a fun and cheap set of figures out of toilet paper rolls! Not only are they fun to play with, but they’ll look pretty cool in a Star Wars-themed room, too.
Cardboard Tube Pirate and Parrot Craft from artsycraftsymom.com: Arrr, matey! These cardboard tube pirate and parrots are perfect for any little shipmates who want an adventure at sea.
Recycled Materials Projects Science
Which of these recycled materials projects is your favorite? Pin this list to save them for later!
PIN THESE RECYCLED PROJECTS FOR LATER
Earth Day Activities for Kids
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